Jeff Bezos’s space efforts at Amazon and his space company, Blue Origin, have been hit with ‘frustrating delays’ including a rocket engine explosion during a routine test earlier this year. With mounting delays, Amazon was forced to sign a deal with rival Elon Musk’s SpaceX for future rocket launches.
In a press release on Friday, Amazon announced that it had “signed a contract with SpaceX for three Falcon 9 launches to support deployment plans for Project Kuiper, Amazon’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband network.”
Project Kuiper has only a handful of satellites in orbit compared with SpaceX’s Starlink, which has over 4,000 satellites in service. Amazon’s earlier procurement of 77 heavy-lift rockets was from Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance. However, Blue Origin’s delays forced Amazon to tap SpaceX for more launch capacity.
“Project Kuiper has contracted three Falcon 9 launches, and these missions are targeted to lift off beginning in mid-2025,” Amazon said.
This is the first time Bezos has turned to Musk for help in its space endeavors, and a sign that all is not well with Blue Origin.
In August, Cleveland Bakers and Teamsters Pension Fund, or CB&T, sued Amazon’s Board of Directors for breach of duty by not considering SpaceX for Project Kuiper launches.
“By completely abdicating its fiduciary duties, the Board has already exposed Amazon to substantial harm and placed the Company’s entire Kuiper program at needless risk. And with each passing day, as Amazon’s chosen launch partners (Blue Origin in particular) continue to struggle and SpaceX continues to prove itself, this Board-inflicted harm continues to grow,” CB&T wrote.
CB&T continued, “Bezos, it must be assumed, could not swallow his pride to seek his bitter rival’s help to launch Amazon’s satellites.”
Bezos has finally done that… Also, maybe the billionaire should not have bought a half-billion dollar yacht that emits 447 times the entire annual carbon footprint of the average US household and spent that money more wisely on progressing rocket engine technology.